Gratitude is a hugely important part of life that so many of us forget all too frequently. If you want to be happier and achieve success, you have to feel and express gratitude.
When we focus on gratitude and the things for which we feel grateful, we keep ourselves in a healthier, more positive mindset. It helps us be connected with the world around us, rather than being overly self-involved.
What are the benefits of feeling and expressing gratitude?
Research has shown that, when we focus on gratitude, we feel happier, more fulfilled, and it’s rewarding. The following are some of the many healing elements a sense of gratitude can provide:
● Positive emotions and feelings
● Better health
● Greater happiness
● Greater progress towards achieving goals
● Increased alertness
● Increased determination
● Healthier sleep
● Better self-esteem
● Improved generosity and empathy
● Fewer aches and pains
After seeing all these benefits, you may be wondering how in the world people struggle with gratitude. Wouldn’t you try just about anything to achieve that many healing benefits?
Why is it hard for us to be grateful?
There are a few reasons why we, as a species, struggle with gratitude.
1) We take too much for granted
We all take things for granted daily and aren’t even aware of it. The more you get used to what you have in life, the easier it is to take it for granted. That includes our jobs, relationships, homes, easy access to food and water, the list goes on and on.
As much as we like to think we’re grateful for what we have, the reality is that many people don’t even think about it on a daily or even weekly basis. It becomes normal and we just expect it, rather than being grateful for the many blessings and opportunities we have.
2) Gratitude tends to remind us of where we came from
Being grateful for what you now have frequently reminds you of what you once didn’t. Many people struggle to accept generosity or love and express gratitude when it’s so vastly different from what they’re used to. It puts them in the place of feeling unworthy and uncomfortable.
This could also lead to feelings of guilt, especially if you were to get something you know someone else wanted. It could also cause you to feel like you owe another person for the happiness you now have. This can cause people to avoid feeling and expressing gratitude as a means to avoid these undesirable feelings.
3) Oftentimes, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone
Many people take things in their lives so much for granted that they don’t even realize how grateful they should have been until that thing is gone. This leaves you feeling empty and regretful for not having paid it the proper gratitude and attention before it was taken from you.
How do you fix this?
There are a number of practices that can help you put an end to this behavior, but we’ll focus on a select few.
Challenge that pesky inner voice
You have to push past the struggle to accept the things you’re lucky to have and express and feel gratitude for them. Silence that little voice in your head telling you that you aren’t good enough or that you don’t deserve it. You are, you do, be grateful for it.
Force yourself to act grateful
Every day think of things you're grateful for. When you get out of bed and make your coffee in the morning, look around and find all the things you have to be grateful for. Ask yourself these questions:
● Why should I feel gratitude?
● What do I have to be grateful for?
● If I were to lose this, how would I feel?